“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them …” Romans 12:6 (ESV)
My pastor’s wife was a truly amazing woman. To me, a woman in my twenties, she was everything a truly godly woman should be: gentle, kind and she had some serious skills in the kitchen! I put her high up on a pedestal.
And because she was a model of godliness for me, I began to jest, “Real Christian women bake bread.” Only I wasn’t joking.
I stacked her life circumstances, talents and personality against mine, and deep down, I believed I wasn’t the kind of woman God fully endorsed.
Her kitchen was filled with yummy homemade goods; mine was stocked with meals from the frozen foods aisle.
She was a stay-at-home mom; I was a single working woman.
She was soft spoken, and I was loud and a little sassy.
Her marital and maternal status, gifts and nature were in stark contrast to mine. I just wasn’t the same kind of woman, the type I believed could be endorsed by God.
But an overview of Scripture declares a different story.
These days, as I study women in the Bible with my friend Wendy, she’s helping me to see with a renewed perspective that God delights in and approves of all the many kinds of women He’s made, gifted and called. The women in the Bible are like us, in different seasons of life with many “flavors” of personality and giftings. There are women like:
- Lydia, who opened her home and led in her church. (Acts 16)
- Shiphrah and Puah, the Jewish midwives, who bravely broke the rules for good. (Exodus 1)
- Rahab, who provided protection and shelter for God’s people. (Joshua 2)
- Mary Magdalene, who followed hard after Jesus and monetarily supported His ministry. (Luke 8)
- Huldah, who was trusted to listen to God and pass on His truth. (2 Kings 22)
- Priscilla, who taught Scripture in all its glorious fullness. (Acts 18)
- The unnamed Shunammite woman, who cared physically for God’s people. (Thank you, Lord, for the women who bake bread!) (2 Kings 4)
- Dorcas, a possible widow, who used her hands to clothe others and do charitable work. (Acts 9)
Some of these women were single, and others were married. There are incredible women in the Bible who were widows or childless, and some who were mothers. Many had questionable pasts or made mistakes along the way; still, God didn’t waste one bit of their willingness and unique experiences.
That list only scratches the surface of the women highlighted in the Bible. How amazing! There’s a veritable rainbow of different kinds of women in God’s Word, all using their various gifts and personalities for God’s glory — just as Paul commands in Romans 12:6 when he says, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them …”
The kind of woman you are is more than just OK. Your unique personality and combination of gifts are God-created and approved. God loves you and wants to use you no matter your circumstances or season of life.
Now, years after my twenties, my more-mature self knows I didn’t need to be just like my pastor’s wife for God to delight in me. We don’t have to compare ourselves to other kinds of women when we celebrate each and every one He’s made!
Lord, I thank You for the kind of woman You’ve made me. I trust You to use my gifts, my personality and my current season of life. I believe that You value me and the kind of woman I am just as much as all the other kinds of women You’ve made. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Romans 12:4, 6-8, “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function … Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (ESV)
If you too have trouble with comparison and loving who you are, pick up a copy of Amy Carroll’s book, co-authored with Cheri Gregory, Exhale: Lose Who You’re Not, Love Who You Are, Live Your One Life Well.
Amy has a new speaking message about Abigail, another amazing woman in the Bible, called “Becoming a Woman of a Tender Heart and a Strong Voice.” If that message would encourage your women’s group, click here to inquire about having Amy come to speak at your church.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
Who is a godly woman you admire? (Maybe you’ve even compared yourself to her.) What are her beautiful gifts and personality traits?
Which woman in today’s devotion (or maybe another in the Bible) reflects some of the strengths you have? List your God-given gifts and personality traits, and then write out a prayer thanking God for both your gifts and the woman you admire.
We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2021 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.
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